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The global COVID-19 pandemic, has been the biggest health crisis the world has seen in over a century.

With the NHS waiting list estimated to reach 13 million, Equipsme wants to fill the gap with its award-winning private health cover that is accessible, affordable, and easy to understand. With Equipsme, members can speak to a GP 24/7, have physio sessions, regular health checks and, if necessary, be quickly referred to a consultant for diagnosis and treatment, all managed through a simple to use app.

Now raising for the second time on Seedrs, we sat down with Founder and CEO Matthew Reed to learn more about Equipsme’s journey.

Can you tell us a bit about your career so far and what brought you to start your own business?

I started out in sales working for Hyperion Insurance Group and Towergate Partnership Ltd before joining AXA as the MD of the UK Intermediary business with 13 branches and £850m of premium income. I moved in AXA to lead a global SME project working between London, Paris and Tokyo as we built new digital models for customers. It was working across multiple locations around the world that left me frustrated by the current market offering which was complicated to navigate, expensive to use and left small businesses and the self-employed scratching their heads. A staggering 5% of employers currently provide health insurance which presents a huge gap in the market for a disruptive brand to make private healthcare an affordable reality for everyone.

You had a great campaign with Seedrs back in November 2020 and raised over £285k. What have you done with the proceeds from that funding round and why are you back?

The global pandemic presented us with a huge opportunity to grow our self-employed customer base. We have seen a real behaviour change in our customer base which is why we are looking forward and investing into our business again because our pipeline has grown exponentially since 2021.

What differentiates you from your competitors offering affordable private healthcare to businesses?

We’re digital, so you and your employees can do pretty much everything you need online. We’re focused on the things we know people really value, which is why our plans include things like 24/7 GP access, and physio appointments.

We don’t have a long eligibility criteria, just an age range for people we’ll cover, and a three year pre-existing conditions exclusion. We let employees manage their own plans and pay to add their family or extra cover if they need it. We try to keep everything simple, transparent and practical.

Equipsme is more than just health cover, our plans are back by leading UK health service providers who believe in what we do.

What is the current financial position/How bad has the pandemic hit the business?

Covid has been the biggest health crisis to hit the world in over a century. NHS waiting lists are at an all time high and the impact of businesses from undiagnosed and untreated conditions is profound.

The pandemic was difficult for all businesses to navigate but we fought our way through 2020 by being agile, creative and resilient which has shown in our numbers. We have just gone through the £1m gross revenue mark in October and recorded EBITDA profitably for the first time.

We are making great progress on the sales pipeline which has already exceeded our expectations for corporate opportunities. Due to the size of the individual corporate opportunities, the revenue income will be “lumpy” as and when the sales convert. Our best best estimate at this point in time is that we will achieve the £3m target by April 2022 if not by March 2022.

How important has technology been to Equipsme’s success?

Without it we wouldn’t be where we are today. Our technology has enabled us to be agile in supporting our customers with their needs making it easy for our customers to do everything they need online. It’s also enabled us to quickly adapt and respond to the changes in the market. Covid-19 has accelerated the need for private access to healthcare solutions given the chronic underinvestment in the NHS.

What feature of Equipsme is your favourite?

My favourite feature is our easily accessible pick and mix cover level that is easy for employees to add their partner, children or family members hassle free, at the click of a button offering our customers the peace of mind their loved ones are covered.

What part of Equipsme’s journey are you most proud of?

I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time. The way that we as a team and company pulled together throughout 2020 to get us into such a strong position for 2022. One of the proudest moments as CEO, is winning the British Insurance Awards and ‘Highly Commended’ in the Cover Awards.

What do you anticipate your route to exit will be?

We know Equipsme will be an attractive acquisition opportunity for the existing incumbents in the market as they seek to innovate their product offering and acquire new customers.

Equipsme has raised £464,863 from 394 investors. To join their mission, check out the pitch.